Airbnb’s “New” Tool Chest: Different Shade of Lipstick, Same Pig

Airbnb’s updated Policy Tool Chest may be version 2.0, but it’s just more of the same old Airbnb playbook.

For example, the Tool Chest touts Airbnb’s “One Host, One Home” policy in New York City, yet just this week the city just hit a commercial operator illegally using Airbnb with a $1.2 million lawsuit.

The document also praises the success of Airbnb’s so-called Voluntary Collection Agreements, without noting that in many of the jurisdictions where these tax deals are made Airbnb decides exactly how much tax it will collect and remit from its hosts, much to the dismay and consternation of tax authorities.

But, as we’ve known for some time, Airbnb is hardly the portrait of transparency.

The most laughable line in the Tool Chest might be where Airbnb lists that its three principles of working with governments are: “making data available; paying our community’s fair share of hotel and tourist taxes; and developing public policy solutions to help governments put in place new rules for this new activity.”

What a joke. If history is any guide, it seems like Airbnb’s three principles are actually “Lie, Bully, Sue.”

And what’s that about making data available? So available that affordable housing advocates have issued open records requests all over the country just to find out what backroom deals you’re really making with cities?

That doesn’t exactly sound like a company committed to “help governments put in place new rules for this new activity.”